Most Los Angeles Angels fans consider the team’s 2002 World Series championship as the greatest moment in franchise history.
Highlight No. 2 occurred Tuesday, when ESPN.com reported Millville’s Mike Trout will stay in Anaheim for the next 12 years.
“October 28, 2002 was the greatest day,” Angels fan Timmy V tweeted Tuesday. “But this is a close second.”
ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan touched off the celebration with news that Trout will play the rest of his home games in the shadow of Disneyland upon agreeing to a 12-year contract worth more than $430 million.
As Press meteorologist Joe Martucci pointed out, Trout’s average salary of $36 million is $5.5 million more than Millville’s city budget from 2017.
That will buy a lot of burgers at Jim’s Lunch. He should also have no trouble renewing his Philadelphia Eagles season tickets for the next decade or so.
Angels fans were ecstatic.
Phillies fans were depressed.
For the better part of two years, they’ve been bombarding Trout’s Twitter feed with pleas to play in Citizens Bank Park.
Their zeal reached a higher level this month when Bryce Harper revealed he would try to recruit Trout to join him in the Phillies’ outfield once he became a free agent after the 2020 season.
Fans better hope Harper’s more adept at hitting pitches than making them.
Anyone who’s surprised Trout is staying with the Angels hasn’t been paying attention.
I told you so.
As far back as May 2016 and most recently last October, this space has been sporadically dedicated to quashing the rumors.
May 14, 2016 — “Forget about it, Phillies fans. Mike Trout isn’t going to be wearing red pinstripes or any other uniform except the one he’s sporting for the Los Angeles Angels.”
May 24, 2017 — “Trout isn’t playing for anyone except the Angels — the team that drafted him out of Millville High School in 2009 — at least until the 2021 season, when his current contract runs out. And that’s assuming the Angels and Trout don’t reach agreement on another monster deal for a bazillion dollars.”
Oct. 3, 2018 — “The Angels are going to make every effort to keep him in there for the rest of his career. Owner Arte Moreno is expected to dig deep into his pocket this winter to try to sign Trout to a long-term deal. There has been speculation he could become baseball’s first half-a-billion-dollar player.”
There are several reasons why Moreno dug deep enough to reach China on Tuesday.
First, Trout is the best player in baseball, and with respect to Harper, Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts and anyone else you want to consider, it’s not close. The two-time American League MVP is that rare player whose new-school analytical data and old-school approach to the game appeal to fans of all generations.
Next, he is the most popular figure in Anaheim who doesn’t have mouse ears. Trout’s No. 27 jerseys are all over Southern California. His likeness is plastered on billboards and banners on streets. The Angels’ ballpark features a section called the Trout Farm.
Moreno never would have been forgiven if Trout got away.
Trout always will be connected with South Jersey and Philadelphia. He spends his winters in Millville and remains especially close to his high school. Before he left for spring training last month, he stopped by the school to present his old No. 1 jersey to this year’s captains, Garrett Musey and Dominick Buonadonna.
Come next season, you’ll see Trout sitting in his end zone seats at Lincoln Financial Field to watch buddies Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz try to lead the Eagles back to the Super Bowl.
But outside of the rare interleague series the Angels play in Philadelphia, the only way he’ll be at Citizens Bank Park for the next 12 years will be if they play the Phillies in the World Series.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.